This is your Guide to the Best Theatre Shows for London Weekend Getaways
You don’t need to be a theatre buff to enjoy the Theatre District on your London weekend getaways. It helps, but all you need is a tapping foot and a swaying body and you can immerse yourself completely and enjoy the extraordinary talents of these gifted performers.
Theatre Options for London Weekend Getaways
London weekend getaways are the perfect opportunities to splurge on theatre. The ticket price tag is usually quite hefty depending on the show you see and if you don’t want to follow along in a nosebleed section, you are apt to spending a mini fortune. Just accept it and soak up the entire experience. Arrive in a black cab, marvel at the performers, eat an overpriced ice cream bar, break out the binoculars and sip a glass of wine while singing along trying to hit the high notes.
Being the largest theatre district in the world with NYC a close second, you can only imagine how many shows Londoners and visitors to the Big Smoke have to choose from! There are productions suitable for every taste. Prior to my international move, during my London trip in 2013, I opted for “Top Hat,” a theatrical rendition of the classic Fred Astaire film of the 1940’s. Being a huge fan of tap dance, musicals, comedy and Fred himself, I was pumped and excited for this to be my first experience of the London Theatre industry and to see this stage adaptation. Little did I know that it would kick off my theatrical admiration of this area of London and be followed with a few more productions with beautifully set evenings on the town on many London weekend getaways.
In Top Hat, the performers were brilliant. They had me completely engaged in the show, laughing, humming, toe-tapping, and feeling as if we had time-warped back to the ’40’s with their costumes, blonde bombshells, slim jim ties and tails, timeless witty quips, and the magic of tap.
The music was brilliantly sung and composed. If I’d consumed another 3 or 4 glasses of wine, I perhaps would have started dancing cheek to cheek in the aisle, not missing a step. During intermission, the audience was treated to an open cash bar, souvenir trolleys and a chance to freshen up. Of course loving the production, I ensured my souvenir magnet was purchased.
After the show, all I could hear was a chorus of satisfied commentary while leaving the venue, agreeing with my thoughts that this had to be one of the most entertaining productions currently on Broadway and how there should be more of this type of show available to see.
The Beautiful Theatres
London is a step above the rest when it comes to bringing the best thespians to the best venues! There is no shortage of beautiful stages for these guys to showcase their incredible talents. These are our five favourites within the Theatre District to consider on your London weekend getaways.
I particularly loved seeing the famous Palladium. Now, both times I ventured to this beautiful theatre nothing was playing ( I missed Cats by a week! sigh), but I was psyched to see it in person as this theatre has been hosting productions for over 100 years. It is one of the most famous theatres in the London Theatre District and was featured in many TV shows worldwide, including one of my favourites, I Love Lucy. Currently, this beautiful theatre is showing the popular Wind in the Willows! A great show for the whole family.
The Cambridge Theatre
What a beautiful venue for Broadway! Built in 1930, this theatre located just a brief walk from Covent Garden, is a favourite for theatre-goers. I had the pleasure of seeing the production of Roald Dahl’s classic Matilda while on one of my favourite London weekend getaways. Indeed a memorable musical of fun, laughter, and impressive sets! With Dahl’s centenary in 2016, you can only imagine how popular this show was and continues to be for audiences every day.
St. Martin’s Theatre
Open for just over 100 years, the St. Martin’s Theatre is one of the most famous venues in the London Theatre District thanks to its record-breaking play, Agatha Christie’s Whodunit, Mousetrap, the longest running production in the world.
Now, just like many others, I ask, how does a play last over 60 years in the business and continue to bring audiences together for an evening of mystery and intrigue? Well, you cannot go wrong with a murder mystery penned by Christie, coupled with gifted actors (400+ over the 60-year run), and a plot keeping you on your toes.
One thing I did find quite impressive was the sign greeting guests to the show indicating the performance number you were experiencing. The numbers are in the 25,000’s at this point and visitors cannot help but snap a photo. Do check it out.
It is a fun evening with a show requiring concentration and a bit of a sense of humour as you listen to the dialogue of characters trapped within a guesthouse, murderer among them! Let the intrigue unfold on one of your London weekend getaways….
Princess of Wales Theatre
This beautiful theatre just around the corner of Leicester Square has been entertaining guests for 80 years. With a capacity of 1100, this theatre is currently hosting the incredibly hilarious show Book of Mormon. For a satirical and colourful afternoon of laughter and dialogue that truly pushes the envelope, head here. You won’t be disappointed. For more details on this show check out our review here.
The Globe Theatre
If you haven’t been to the Globe theatre, do check it out for your fill of the bard. Located near the Borough Markets on the other side of the Thames, William Shakespeare’s plays are performed daily in this unique theatrical venue in the London Theatre District. Enjoy the classic soliloquies you were forced to recite in school by professionals aspiring to be the next Sire Laurence Olivier for as low as £5 a ticket! At the moment, Romeo and Juliet as well as Twelfth Night are gracing the stage giving guests both comedy and tragedy options.
For more about William Shakespeare and his literary life, check out our guide to Stratford-Upon-Avon here.
The London theatre district is definitely a must on any holiday, but particularly special for romantic London weekend getaways. Even if you aren’t a big fan of musicals per say, there are so many other options for you to choose from including plays, concerts, revues, stand-up comedy, and more. Each production brings a magical time and escape from the everyday drudge. No show is alike, and therefore, no night on the town will be either. Dress it up, expect to be mesmerized, and sing along, letting the evening flow just like the witty dialogue.